Five Days At Sea

5/7/19 – Tuesday until 5/11/19 – Saturday

Not only am I going to condense our activities during this time, as I did before, I’d like to note that much of our sea days were spent as they were the last time. In fact, several of Judson Croft’s talks happened during this set of sea days.

Our table mate status changed during this time. I’d met David at my exercise classes. He even went to more than I did. We talked a bit, finding out that he not only lived in Walla Walla, WA (not so far from Spokane) but regularly had to come to our Eye Clinic for checkups. John and I got together with David and Lisa at the buffet lunch once and found out we had a whole lot in common: She has a degree in Digital Art (don’t remember the proper name) and loves to watercolor. Her mom was famous for her detailed watercolor paintings. David worked with supercomputers in Los Alamos, NM. The same sort of thing that our son Justin does for Oregon State University. They have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren, we have 2 sons and 2 grandchildren. They love snorkeling (have done it at every port on this trip I think) which we love as well. We’ve just slowed down a bit and didn’t bring our gear so we could pack light (one carry on and one backpack each on this trip). They love their RV but haven’t had the experience we’ve had, so lots to share there. They love homes and are extensively remodeling their Victorian house in Walla Walla. They also told us that they have a late dinner setting but would prefer to eat early. We mentioned that our table of 4 (set for 5 pm) has room for 2 more. We asked Shirley and Larry if they’d mind, they were fine with it. They’re very easy going. So we had even more fun times at our table with 6 people until Vancouver. (Update: David and Lisa visited us in Spokane in June)

Soon after this (May 8) John and I began to seriously consider buying a camera. For a couple weeks we’d been intrigued with the talks on the Go Pro, but we realized eventually that we really didn’t take videos (that option is on our current camera), we’re not into physical adventures we wanted to show off and we really couldn’t see ourselves sharing our videos through social media which seems to be the goal.

Then John noticed the photography department on the ship had a camera similar to mine for sale. Hmm. Mine is 7 years old with certain issues. The new bridge camera is just like mine. These are a bridge between a “point and shoot” camera and a “professional” camera. The lens on mine goes from wide angle (28mm) to telephoto (500mm), which was important to me. The new one didn’t seem much heavier yet it’s lens went from 28mm to 2,000mm. Wow! Bridge cameras have their lens permanently attached to the camera, you can’t change into a different lens. Long ago I realized that when a telephoto opportunity arose (wildlife usually) there wasn’t time for me to change lenses and still get the moment I was after. Plus it was a pain to lug those lenses around.

I asked tons of questions, got excellent answers. Some of my issues were solved. One major headache was that my camera was inconsistent with focusing. I did everything I could to give the laser beam time and steadiness to get the focus. Still, many important photos just had to be deleted because they weren’t in focus. I learned that is a common thing that happens when a digital camera ages. Apparently 4-5 years is an average for how long these cameras last. The shutter mechanism is another part that stops working. I’d had issues with the telescoping of my lens but that had seemed to improve over time.

John and I spent an evening (right after dinner) in the hot tub discussing our camera options.

The new camera (Nikon Coolpix P900) was on our minds the next day. I asked David who had lots of Internet access (we had none-expensive), if he would mind checking on Google for reviews and prices of this camera. He was most generous, giving us the information: price around $500 (just what the ship was asking yet we’d also not have taxes or customs to pay). Reviews were excellent (4.6 out of 5). This camera was great for travelers, wildlife and nature. Just my thing! We bought the camera and proceeded to take lots of pictures to figure it out before our trip ended.


Albatross pictures (taken of the large screen at the theater) from Judson Croft’s talk on Albotross

Ganet picture from Judson Croft’s talk on Albotross. These birds nose dive in a large group into the ocean to catch fish. The water looks like it’s getting hit with lots of bullets.

Saw the movie “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” and loved it. We’ve really enjoyed the books/movies of Steigg Larsson (Swedish) who, most unfortunately, died after writing three books about this “girl”. This movie is based on a book by Larry Lagercrantz who based it on the main characters in Larrson’s books, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. They are mystery/thriller stories.

We attended “Coffee With Our Environmental Officer” and found it fascinating. Here are some of the facts he shared in answering guest questions: 53% of the ship’s garbage is recycled. Leftover food is ground into a pulp then sent overboard (where allowed). Toilet waste; the liquid is treated and sent overboard, the solids are off loaded on shore. Gray water (sink) waste is treated and sent overboard. Fresh water is made from salt water from the ocean. Some countries (places) don’t allow this so they buy water then. Diesel fuel has to be at 0.?% sulfur by 2020 so HAL/Carnival are installing scrubers to get it to that. Others (ie. Norwegian) are buying expensive fuel. They use anti-fouling paint so critters don’t stick to the ship and thus giving the ship less friction surface.

We were told that at 8:30, on deck 3, there would be a “Chocolate Surprise”. It was not a buffet as we’d anticipated, but servers walking around with different chocolate goods. Mmm. We tried as many as we could “run down.”


Nikon photo of chocolate tarts. Yum!

Nikon photo of chocolate macaroons. I thought the “scene/food” selection would put them in a white light, but it didn’t. Later I learned that the “Manual” choice will do that.

Nikon photo of a couple proud servers with chocolate mini cones. Also Yum!

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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